Best Cushioned Running Shoes to Look Out For in 2023

Best Cushioned Running Shoes to Look Out For in 2023

Jul 3rd 2023

Many of us have faced a common dilemma at some point of whether to choose minimalist or maximalist shoes. The allure of minimalist shoes can be strong, with their lightweight design and promises of improved foot strength and a more natural experience. But, we see, you're choosing the cushioned side. That's great! With their extra padding and shock absorption, well-cushioned shoes will help you pound away mile after mile more comfortably, that's for sure. The only question is left unanswered: what're the best cushioned shoes for you? Let us provide you with our top picks now!

Hoka Bondi 8

Weight: 10.8 oz (men’s) / 8.9 oz (women’s)
Drop: 4 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral

Hoka One One is widely recognized for its signature maximalist designs; hence, our list would be incomplete without Hoka shoes.

The Bondi 8 falls under the "plush cushioning" shoes, with a midsole that is even lighter and softer than that used in the Bondi 7. It's also got more responsive thanks to the upgraded resilient foam that delivers a ride that's not just cushioned but also incredibly bouncy.

Thanks to HOKA's early-stage Meta-Rocker shape combined with an extended heel geometry, you're in for easy landings and smooth transitions from heel to toe. The upper part of the shoe has also undergone some changes: Hoka added a cushy tongue, a memory-foam heel collar, and a breathable engineered mesh to make sure your feet feel cozy yet secure with every stride.

New Balance Fresh Foam More v4

Weight: 10.4 oz (men’s) / 8.4 oz (women’s)
Drop: 4 mm
Cushion: Balanced
Stability: Neutral

The journey to max-cushioned responsive running shoes started with the 1080v9, where New Balance added an extra millimeter of Fresh Foam underfoot, making the shoe more forgiving and comfortable. Then came the 10th iteration, which featured Fresh Foam X midsole - soft, yet not too squishy.

Fast forward to the latest version, the Fresh Foam More v4 features even more of New Balance's advanced foam. With the special rocker geometry, these shoes ensure your strides are smooth and effortless. Moreover, the designers have fine-tuned the upper, giving it a bit more stretch in the forefoot to accommodate wider-foot runners.

Brooks Glycerin 20

Weight: 10.1 oz (men’s) / 9.1 oz (women’s)
Drop: 10 mm
Cushion: Balanced
Stability: Neutral (Glycerin GTS 20 - Stability Shoes)

With its latest updates, the Brooks Glycerin 20 has become a fantastic daily trainer or all-day wear for those who spend a lot of time on their feet.

The big news is the DNA LOFT v3 foam. Now nitrogen-infused, it adds a plush cushioning to every step and even injects a little bounce into your stride, thanks to its energetic formula. The Glycerin 20 keeps its signature max-cushioned ride and also introduces a stability version: the Brooks Glycerin GTS 20. This model combines Brooks' GTS technology with the DNA Loft foam, offering a super stable and soft feel underfoot.

On Cloudmonster

Weight: 9.7 oz (men’s) / 8.1 oz (women’s)
Drop: 6 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral

This shoe is gaining a reputation as one of the brand's best offerings, and for good reasons.

First off, it provides enough room in the arch and toe, unlike some other top-tier running shoes. At the same time, the breathable upper ensures your foot remains securely locked in.Despite its bulky look, you'll be surprised how lightweight it feels on your feet. The ride? Smooth, firm, and bouncy with just the right amount of squishiness. The transition is responsive and snappy. So, if you're up for a tempo run, the Cloudmonster has got you covered. Its rocker profile enhances forward propulsion, and the unique multi-directional grip is awesome. So if you're looking for a reliable running shoe for less-than-ideal weather conditions, the On Running Cloudmonster should be on your radar.

Saucony Triumph 20

Weight: 9.7 oz (men’s) / 8.6 oz (women’s)
Drop: 10 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral

Known for its highly responsive cushioning, this shoe sits proudly among the best cushioned shoes. The springy effect is achieved with the help of Saucony’s new PWRRUN+ midsole foam that absorbs a sufficient amount of impact on landing and then bounces back, delivering an effortless takeoff. To further ease your running, the Triumph 20 features a rocker geometry.

Saucony Guide 16

Weight: 8.8 oz (men’s) / 7.8 oz (women’s)
Drop: 8 mm
Cushion: Balanced
Stability: Stability

The Saucony Guide 15 has always been known as a stellar stability shoe but lacked extra cushioning. Well, the Guide 16 doesn't have this problem anymore, meaning you get both excellent stability and ample cushioning in one design.

What makes the Guide 16 stand out is the Hollow Tech medial support system. It's lighter and less intrusive than a traditional post, guiding your foot smoothly forward. Pair this with the superb PWRRUN cushioned midsole, and you've got a stability cushioned shoe that's definitely worth considering.

Asics Gel-Kayano 30

Weight: 10.6 oz (men’s) / 9.2 oz (women’s)
Drop: 10 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral / Stability

Celebrating thirty years of innovation,  Asics has introduced the technology-packed Gel-Kayano 30 - one more shoe for overpronators on our list. It’s all about delivering adaptive stability with the comfort of max cushioning.

The Gel-Kayano 30 features PureGEL technology, positioned under the heel for softer landings and a smoother ride, while the Flytefoam Blast Eco cushioning is firmer underfoot but very compressible in the sole. The innovative 4D Guidance System is designed to stabilize your foot, featuring design elements like a lateral decoupling groove, medial convex geometry, and a newly designed lateral guidance line.

The Gel-Kayano 30 boasts an engineered stretch knit upper that enhances breathability and provides a secure fit, while the OrthoLite X-55 sockliner enhances comfort. The shoe also sports reflective details for better visibility during night runs.

Altra Via Olympus

Weight: 11 oz (men’s) / 8.8 oz (women’s)
Drop: 0 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral

With this model,  Altra has made its grand entrance into the world of max-cushioned trainers. Don't mix it up with its trail-running sibling, the Altra Olympus 5. The Via Olympus is designed specifically for the road, featuring EGO Max foam that provides high-cushioned comfort on pavement without weighing you down. Yep, it's a plush shoe, but generally, the Via Olympus remains a true Altra, featuring a 0 mm heel drop that puts you in a natural stance, a rocker shape, and a roomy toe box.

Topo Athletic Phantom 2

Weight: 10.3 oz (men’s) / 8.5 oz (women’s)
Drop: 5 mm
Cushion: Plush
Stability: Neutral

The Phantom 2 features a spacious, anatomical toe box, which can seem too much for some runners, but you'll soon appreciate how its unique shaper protects your feet from blisters.

But what really takes the spotlight is the midsole that features a ZipFoam core for a snappy yet soft feel underfoot, making it perfect for high mileage and runners with a high cadence.

The Phantom 2 also packs some impressive stability features. An external TPU heel counter, wider platform, and secure lacing system all work together to ensure your foot is locked in, protecting against ankle rolling.

Hoka Speedgoat 5

Weight: 10.3 oz (men’s) / 8.6 oz (women’s)
Drop: 4 mm
Cushion: Balanced
Stability: Neutral

Of course, we couldn't leave our trail runners without one - the Speedgoat 5. This shoe is Hoka’s top-selling trail model, a robust and speedy conqueror renowned for its grippy lugs and cushioned landings. While the Speedgoat 4 felt too soft and lacked responsiveness, this model features a new midsole compound that not only made the shoe more bouncy but also shaved off about half an ounce. Despite its rugged appearance, the latest Speedgoat feels surprisingly light and comfortable.

The outsole lugs were enhanced to increase surface area, providing a better grip on dirt and rocks. But that's not all. The Speedgoat 5 also introduces us to a flexible elastic, cleverly positioned at the start of the laces above the widest part of your foot, allowing the upper to expand. If you’re into ultra-long runs or run in cold weather, you’ll like this feature.

The magic of the Speedgoat doesn't stop at trails - this cushioned shoe also shines on the road, boasting outstanding shock absorption that makes it one of the best hybrid shoes out there.


Why do you need a cushioned running shoe?

Cushioned running shoes are essential for reducing the impact on your joints and providing comfort during long runs or hard surfaces.

What to look for in high-quality cushioned running shoes?

When looking for high-quality cushioned running shoes, consider aspects such as the shoe's overall comfort, the responsiveness of the midsole, durability, breathability of the upper material, and the shoe's weight. A good fit that matches your foot shape and running style is also crucial.

Are more cushioned running shoes better?

Not necessarily. While more cushioning can offer greater comfort and impact absorption, it may not suit everyone. Some runners may prefer a more responsive feel with the ground, which less cushioning provides. The best shoe depends on individual running style, biomechanics, and personal preference.